Archive for the ‘Simulators’ category

The Apex Racing Simulator by SimCraft

December 15, 2008

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Arcades have always been great at presenting simulators to the public and when it comes to racing simulators, they really hit the spot. Even at IAAPA this year we saw several simulation style games with movement, multiple or huge screens and more. I used to be able to enjoy these kinds of games to a degree but after developing Meniere’s disease a little while ago, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to try one out again, which stinks but such is life.

Here is a look at a new racing simulator called the Apex SC830 which promises full pitch, yaw and rolling capabilities in a relatively small package. Like many other racing sim setups like this it features three screens (which is another one of those things arcades started doing a long time ago with games like Atari’s TX-1 or the more recent Ferrari F355 Challenge Deluxe by Sega). It appears to work with any PC/console although it doesn’t say it outright but where this was made to train professional racers I imagine that it would have those sort of hookups. If it worked with any console then the first thing I would like to see someone try is Enduro on the Atari 2600 but my hopes aren’t very high that it would work with that. SimCraft, the creators of this machine, will be at CES in January so I imagine that if anyone in the amusement sector is interested in one of these that that is a good place to check it out.

[Simcraft – Apex SC830 page] [Discuss on the Forum]

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Funland arcade in Toronto, Ontario closing in a few days!

July 10, 2008

Here at Arcade Heroes we like to focus on the positive of the arcade scene but I feel this needs to be announced. Funland arcade in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) will be closing sometime next week so if you want to play something there, take pictures or relive fond memories of the place, better hurry because it will be gone soon. The arcade is located on Yonge Street. To my knowledge this arcade has been in business since at least the 1980’s so it will be very sad to see it go. Last I heard a very rare, F-Zero Super Deluxe cabinet with motion resides in this arcade. I cannot confirm if its still there but if you want a shot at playing one of these in the full deluxe motion cabinet and live near Toronto, you better hurry. I have wanted to visit this arcade but I was never able to get there.

Funland arcade on the verge of closing

Funland arcade on the verge of closing

Visual Sports lays the smack down on Wii Sports

July 3, 2008

I know a lot of people get the Nintendo Wii simply because of it’s pack-in game and maybe a few other titles. That can be good and bad for Nintendo as it gets the foot in the door but so far attach rates on the system are fairly dismal as a lot of people just focus on Wii Sports or Wii Play. I don’t personally and I have several other games and Wii Sports is fun and has also proven that simple and innovative is an excellent way to get into the market (and dominate it in terms of monthly sales). But there is a step up above what you can do with Wii Sports in the arcade thanks to technology from a company called Visual Sports. Now they can actually get you setup with one of their systems at home but where the price isn’t listed on the page, expect sticker shock. But for a larger experience, they do offer these systems for entertainment venues such as arcades, FECs, fitness centers, sports clubs and shops, sporting events and more.

There are two coin-op systems currently available from Visual Sports – RealSports MAX and RealSoccer Junior. RealSports MAX is an upgrade from a previous RealSports system labelled classic where the player can choose from 6 different sports games and face off against virtual opponents. The games include Golf, Soccer, Hockey, Baseball, Football, and Basketball and it also allows for future software upgrades. This one is certainly an attraction game in part because of it’s size but also because of the interactivity it offers – no handheld remotes to play with and pretend that you’re throwing a ball or swinging a club – you actually can throw a ball and the tracking system will translate it onto the screen. You might recall our story some time ago on Sega’s Go Go Golf which is very similar although Visual Sports has been around for a while and has been pioneering the technology for sometime now.

RealSports Junior looks like Kick It! Junior but with an HD screen and much improved graphics. I imagine that the motion detection has been improved over Kick It as well. The cabinet looks nice and although it’s pretty large it’s another piece that will attract a lot of attention.

The nice thing about both systems is that they don’t require an attendant and they can be modified to run redemption. I don’t know the pricing structure on these yet so I’ll try not to speculate further on that but every time a system like this is put in at a location it becomes an instant earning tool. There is a video of the system in action but when I play it, it locks up quickly.

[Visual Sports website] [Discuss on the Forum]

Father & daughter trapped inside a coin-op flight simulator for 20 min.

May 28, 2008

The headline basically says it all – in Long Island New York at an FEC called Fun Zone Amusements(link to a video of the arcade on youtube) a father and daughter were trapped in a flight simulator game for about 20 minutes when the ride failed. They were apparently stuck in either an upside-down or reclining position before being rescued by the local fire department. The name of the simulator wasn’t mentioned and fortunately no one was hurt.

This is the disadvantage of large simulators of course – if they decide to stop failing during operation it can lead to inconvenience or something worse depending on the ride, which goes on to stress maintanence.

[Via Newsday] [Discuss on the Forum]

SNES Super Mario Kart on the Force Dynamics 301

April 30, 2008

While Mario Kart GP marked the arrival of Nintendo’s popular franchise game to the arcade, I honestly have only seen a cabinet once – which was at ASI and it was a GP2 cab. It seems to receive mixed reviews from players and operators would probably be more willing to carry the game if it didn’t cost them $9000 per cabinet and for that price the game doesn’t do much to stand out from Double Dash on the GameCube, much less the newest installment of MK on the Wii.

But maybe if they added this new motion-base system from Force Dynamics they would have a winner. At least it looks like putting the original Mario Kart onto this system is fun. The Force Dynamics 301 has been made for a variety of venues but according to their website, it could be used in an arcade as well. The platform is open-source so it looks like anything can go into it, they can also customize the platform for you. They say it’s low cost but from briefly investigating their website I didn’t see pricing or an ordering page.  Of course motion simulation is gaining steam in arcades with one developer (IMOtion) already dedicated to nothing but those kind of games and both Sega and GlobalVR have created motion based systems for some of their more popular games.

[Force Dynamics website] [Discuss on the Forum]

SingTel’s Formula One Simulator

April 26, 2008

If you ever happen to drop by Singapore (or if you live there) and have a thing for F1 racing then F1 sponsor SingTel has unveiled the simulator game for you. The game will be showcased around the island nation, giving those who want it the F1 racing experience without the danger of crashing. There are two machines available which make use of an F1 race car shell, three LCD screens and of course the software which was developed by Bell Racing Developments, a UK company. The software is actually available as a free download for any PC via the SingTel website but unless you have one of those fancy home racing setups that you built yourself (or maybe bought for a few thousand dollars) then you’ll be missing out on the full experience. You have to love the steering wheel, I admit that I’m not terribly familiar with F1 racers but that is quite the complex looking controller.

[Via CNET Asia] [SingTel Website] [Discuss on the Forum]

SingTel's Formula One Simulator

April 26, 2008

If you ever happen to drop by Singapore (or if you live there) and have a thing for F1 racing then F1 sponsor SingTel has unveiled the simulator game for you. The game will be showcased around the island nation, giving those who want it the F1 racing experience without the danger of crashing. There are two machines available which make use of an F1 race car shell, three LCD screens and of course the software which was developed by Bell Racing Developments, a UK company. The software is actually available as a free download for any PC via the SingTel website but unless you have one of those fancy home racing setups that you built yourself (or maybe bought for a few thousand dollars) then you’ll be missing out on the full experience. You have to love the steering wheel, I admit that I’m not terribly familiar with F1 racers but that is quite the complex looking controller.

[Via CNET Asia] [SingTel Website] [Discuss on the Forum]